Our First Playtest

by Ron Gilbert
Nov 24, 2015

On Friday, we had our first playtest for Thimbleweed Park. My friend Sarah came over and I watched her play the game for close to three hours. Next week Gary, David, and Robert will host playtest sessions with friends and family. Our goal is to do one playtest session every week until the end of the project in our elusive quest to "make a good game".

There are different flavors of testing, each with a different goal in mind.

Bug Testing: This done by testers who are focused on finding bugs in the game. While it is part of what they do, their main focus isn't on if the game is fun or not. They are playing the game over and over for weeks and months at a time looking for bugs and then taking the most elusive ones and figuring out how to reproduce them. They write up very detailed bug reports detailing what the bug is and how it happened. It is grueling work and can leave you hating the game (if not games in general). Good bug testers are very special and hard to find.

Focus Testing: I hate focus testing and will never ever do it. Focus testing is where you bring potential customers in and see if they like something, and in most cases, before it has been built. Focus testing fails because people know what they like, but often don't know what they want. Focus testing is primarily used by visionless marketing departments. I will concede that focus testing might have a place in some kinds of products, but for art - which games are - it has no place.   Rant: OFF.

Playtesting: Playtesting usually happens one-on-one or with very small groups of players. You're often watching testers as they play, taking notes and generally being very quiet (if not behind one-way glass). Your main goal is to see how a player approaches the game, where they spend their time and where they are confused and get stuck. Back at Lucas, and I believe it started with Indy, we would have Pizza Orgies. After work, the whole Game's group, plus friends and family would get together, eat pizza and everyone would pay the game for a few hours, then we'd have a large group debrief discussion. These were great because everyone got to chime in and build off other comments.

Alpha/Beta Testing: This is where you're sending hundreds (or in some cases thousands) of copies of the game to players and you're looking for big picture issues. The games often contain analytics so the developers can see how far people are getting and what they are doing. These tests usually involve a lot of people, so you don't drill down for specifics on each player. You're looking for global trends. Alpha/Beta testing is also good for finding bugs that only a fresh one thousand new players can find.

When I do playtesting, I have a set of rules and guidelines I like to follow:

Before the Playtest

◼︎ Tell players you're just going to be watching and not talking to them. Don't engage in friendly chit-chat. Pretend you are behind a one-way mirror watching them. You need to make sure their impression of the game is playing the game, not talking to you. This is very important when players are friends and family.
◼︎ Ask them to talk out loud about what they are doing and trying, but not to ask you questions.
◼︎ Tell them there are parts of the game that are not finished and you might occasionally tell them not to do something so it doesn't break the game.
◼︎ Tell them this isn't a test of their ability, it's for looking at issues with the game. We expect them to be confused and have issues, that's what we're looking for.
◼︎ Try and be as invisible as possible during the playtest.
◼︎ Remember, we're not doing this as a validation that we're doing a good job (that will come later), we're doing this to see all the places we aren't doing a good job. Players not liking the game is a good thing because it's all stuff we can fix.

During the Playtest

◼︎ Don't make excuses for the game. If you see a bug or a glitch, don't say "That's isn't supposed to happen" or "we're going to fix that". Most players won't even have noticed it.
◼︎ If the player takes a break for more than a few seconds, pause the game so we get an accurate count of the amount of time they played.
◼︎ Take notes on what people tried, not just when stuck but also as they explored the game. Did they go off in directions we didn't expect? Did they want to do something fun that we don't support.
◼︎ It's OK to ask people "What are you thinking?" or "What are you trying to do?" if they are not verbalizing, just try not to make it sound judgmental.
◼︎ Let players be stuck for long long periods of time. Don't hint players until they have been beating their head against something for 30 minutes or more. It's agonizing, but let them struggle, there is good information in watching how they struggle and what they try.
◼︎ The goal of the playtest isn't for them to successfully finish the game, it's to watch all the problems they have.
◼︎ If players are obviously stuck and are getting to the point of giving up, don't give them direct hints, instead ask them questions like "What are you trying to do?" and they will often figure it out just by verbalizing their thoughts, this also helps us figure out why people are confused.
◼︎ If they don't solve it, give them subtle hints like "Look carefully at your inventory" or "Make sure you've fully explored the City Hall".
◼︎ Players have a tendency to say "Is this what I should be doing?" and "Is this right?" when being watched, it's best to respond with silence.

After the Playtest

◼︎ Be very careful when playtesting with friends and family. People don't want to hurt your feelings and will tell you nice things. Let them know it's OK to be very harsh and critical, that it helps us make the game better.
◼︎ Every time a player tells you something they don't like, the game gets a little better.
◼︎ You might have to draw the negative comments out of people. Try not to look pleased when players say nice things, this encourages them to just say nice things and not bad things.
◼︎ Don't ask leading questions. For example, don't ask if they liked the music, ask if they have any feedback on the music.
◼︎ Ask follow up questions to probe deeper.
◼︎ Ask them to describe the story.
◼︎ Ask them who Ray is and to describe her.
◼︎ Ask them who Reyes is and to describe him.
◼︎ Ask about the the other characters. We're trying to understand if the right information was conveyed. Don't respond to questions about the characters or story yet.
◼︎ Ask them if there was anything about the story that was confusing.
◼︎ Ask them if there was anything about the game that was confusing or they didn't like.
◼︎ Ask them where they were most frustrated.
◼︎ Ask them if they have any general feedback on the game.
◼︎ Ask these next questions last.
◼︎ Ask them what about the story did they liked.
◼︎ Ask them what about the game did they liked.
◼︎ At this point, you can answer questions and tell them what they might missed, etc.

The playtest with Sarah went very well. She got stumped on a couple of puzzles that need better focus or clarification on our part. She got fixated on solving one puzzle that was leading her in the wrong direction, so we need to make it clear about it not solving the problem it appears to solve. There was one large backwards puzzle we need to fix. We were pretty sure it was going to be a problem and this confirms it. She wanted to call all the phone numbers she saw and we need to make sure they have satisfying responses. Having just played Maniac Mansion, she found all the references funny.

After the first of the year, we'll post a call for playtesters who want to come in and play for a few hours and endure our icy stares, cold silence, and hip lab coats and clipboards.

- Ron

Kai - Nov 24, 2015 at 13:05
Oh boy oh boy oh boy! One half of me wants to be a playtester. The other half wants to wait until everything is properly debugged and polished to perfection and then enjoy a perfect old school adventure game!

Christopher Griffin - Nov 24, 2015 at 13:06
You can't see it, but I'm doing the "awesome update blog post" dance.

Natalija - Nov 24, 2015 at 13:10
Those icons look nice.

A man with a tape recorder up his nose - Nov 24, 2015 at 13:10
These icons have really been polished a lot. Many of the first ones we were shown really looked as though they had had one pass at them, because I didnt imidiadly recognize what they were supposed to be. All of the icons here makes sense.

The game looks great. But please dont give away to many reference-spoilers, like the Doctor Fred one :-)
We all know they are there, but it is cooler when I find them my self alone at night :-)

Kevin Drum - Nov 24, 2015 at 13:14
I really hope the "hip lab coats and clipboards" are real.

Madeline Woo - Nov 24, 2015 at 13:16
Go Sarah!!  Good job!

Rum Rogers - Nov 24, 2015 at 13:17
I bet Sarah doesn't even imagine how many people are envying her.
Life is strange.

Colin - Nov 24, 2015 at 13:22
Exciting stuff. Glad it went well :)

Patrik Spacek - Nov 24, 2015 at 13:25
You live too far from me...  shame!

arvenius - Nov 24, 2015 at 13:29
haha, i was going to comment on the nice icons but since it has already been done 2 times in 5 comments it may be a little obvious ;p
great read nontheless, i think your approach to playtesting is very good because it happens early enough that things can still be changes and corrected instead of just finding bugs and glitches.
also the art looks more staggering with each new room that is somewhat shown :).
oh btw: after so many visuals, would it be possible to get an audio-teaser as well? maybe one of the shorter music tracks or the title music or something? i know the soundtrack is probably far from finished yet, but id love to have first impressions because it will be really important for the whole mood and atmosphere in the game.

Mattias Cedervall - Nov 24, 2015 at 13:30
Ron, will you change the verbs so they start from the left instead of being almost centered? It looks a bit messy now.

Andy Roberts - Nov 24, 2015 at 13:53
Agreed - unless you put shaded boxes behind each verb like Monkey Island.

Ron Gilbert - Nov 24, 2015 at 14:17
Monkey Island didn't have shaded boxes behind the verbs. I tried left aligning the verbs in Thimbleweed park and I didn't think they looked good. The UI still has a long way to go, so stop panicking.

Mattias Cedervall - Nov 24, 2015 at 14:26
I see. I'm not panicking unless that is something the cool kids do. Thank you for your reply, Ron! :-)

Andy Roberts - Nov 24, 2015 at 14:46
I did a quick Google, and there seems to be two versions of the UI for Monkey Island; one with plain text, one with a fancy font and shaded boxes. Discuss. :)

flip - Nov 24, 2015 at 15:10
That's only true for The Secret of Monkey Island. The Monkey Island 2 interface definitely had boxes behind the verbs.

Big Red Button - Nov 24, 2015 at 16:18
I've never played it with boxes. I've never seen them in MI 2 and I've never missed them as well.

Big Red Button - Nov 24, 2015 at 16:20
Black contours are sufficient.

flip - Nov 24, 2015 at 18:04

Big Red Button - Nov 24, 2015 at 18:10
Sorry, I misunderstood you! I wrongfully thought about the dialog texts. You're absolutely right.
I've also played MI2 with these dark purple boxes behind the verbs back then. For all I know they added the GUI from MI 2 to MI 1 when it was re-released on CD-ROM with 256 colors, albeit 3 verbs had to be dropped then.

Big Red Button - Nov 24, 2015 at 18:58
I even admit that this purple GUI design has been the most elegant I've ever seen in a point'n'click adventure game. For this reason I would be pleased if the GUI of TP would look more similar to it.

Ron Gilbert - Nov 24, 2015 at 16:38
Not the original. If you played a version with boxes around the verbs, it was done after I left. can you post a link to a screen shot? I'm curious now.

Sushi - Nov 24, 2015 at 17:14
@Ron: the version with boxes around the verbs can be seen here

I just checked in scummvm my "monkey madness" cd-rom version  I bought in 1995-ish and it also has those boxes. If you want I can take some more screenshots, but I'm lazy and won't unless you ask me.
The verbs are also centred, not left aligned. And the icons are icons , not text (I.e. vga version)
P.S. Autocorrect doesn't know VGA?!

Derrick Reisdrf - Nov 24, 2015 at 17:15

Sushi - Nov 24, 2015 at 17:50
Another source of reference for comparing versions:

Ema - Nov 27, 2015 at 15:22
Please, notice the stool under Mancomb Seepgood's bottom: it is missing in some versions. I noticed it playing the DOS CD 256 color version back in those days. I thought it was a bug of that version, since in the EGA version the stool was present. But I noticed that in the special edition the stool is missing too...

flip - Nov 24, 2015 at 18:02
Monkey Island 2 with dark violet boxes behind the verbs, arrows and inventory icons:

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Nov 25, 2015 at 06:15
Not hollow boxes, but rectangular filled boxes in dark purple, behind each verb.
The first time I played it, on PC, there were filled boxes.
Here is a screenshot:

Carlo Valenti - Nov 25, 2015 at 17:59
Secret version of enhanced Zak-Monkey-Maniac crossover with white boxes and flashing icons bouncing all over the screen, here:

Asterisk - Nov 29, 2015 at 14:56
The original doesn't have boxes behind the verbs, but the verbs themselves are definitely left-aligned.

EGA:  http://i.imgur.com/Rqu81Ww.png

VGA: http://i.imgur.com/k55BgjC.png

Derrick Reisdorf - Nov 24, 2015 at 17:11
I think it looks fine.

The only other option would to do:
Left column, aligned left
Center column, centered
Right column, aligned right
This proposed alignment would look a little less funky if you added margins, too.

But, like I said, I think it looks fine.

Gzurl - Nov 24, 2015 at 13:51
Poor bug testers...
They will never enjoy the game when it's finished like us.

I believe they deserve a dedicated tomb in the Thimbleqweaefwtver Park graveyard :-)

Mattias Cedervall - Nov 24, 2015 at 14:30
That's a great idea! :-) If there will be a graveyard in the game.

Andy Roberts - Nov 24, 2015 at 13:52
Great post! Playtesting (and to a degree, bug testing) is an aspect of game development that I think people are unfamiliar with. Of course, people understand that games are tested, but the way in which the information is presented, gathered, and processed - not to mention the knots in the developer's stomachs as they expose their creation to fresh eyes and opinions - is certainly still a mystery to many.

Back in my C64 days, playtesting always used to be a process of showing the game to whatever friend happened to call round that day, and was often just a few nods, affirmations, and polite suggestions. Nowadays it's incredibly clinical (and almost scientific) in its approach.

Arto - Nov 24, 2015 at 14:23
"Playtesting (and to a degree, bug testing) is an aspect of game development that I think people are unfamiliar with."

Today bug testing is an aspect of software development that I think developers are unfamiliar with. It's good to see Ron & Co are not only serious about doing the playtesting and bug crushing, but actually have a good plan for it.

tomimt - Nov 24, 2015 at 17:14
It's not that most devs don't want to do proper bug testing, it just often is the part of the development most companies think they can be cheap on. And most modern games are so complex, that they would need over half a year of bug testing. Think of how expensive it will become, if you have a game with 20-40 hours of material. One tester needs weeks to play it through properly.

And that's why things like Arkham Knight happens.

iPadCary - Nov 24, 2015 at 13:59
Man oh Maneschevitz, I wish I was near Seattle.  lol
I'd playtest the heck out of it for ya, Ron!

Lennart - Nov 24, 2015 at 14:05
You realize of course, this is torture!
The screenshots are just looking too good.
Can't wait...

Peter Campbell - Nov 24, 2015 at 14:06
My theory is that the inside of the bank vault cannot ever be shown because Scrooge McDuck is in there swimming in his gold coins and Disney would've sued for copyright infringement.

Mattias Cedervall - Nov 24, 2015 at 14:32
I think that Scrooge McDuck would've sued. :P

Ashley B - Nov 24, 2015 at 14:23
The skeleton!  The Skeleton!  That's the medical room from Maniac Mansion.....  Done in Ferrari style!!!!

Mattias Cedervall - Nov 24, 2015 at 14:28
It's exciting to see the new icons! :-)

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Nov 24, 2015 at 14:34
Wow!!!! I can't wait to play the game! It's great!
I leave the testing to you. I prefer to play the game once it's released :-)

Paulup - Nov 24, 2015 at 14:46
This is amazing - I have the EXACT SAME foam sword (next to the TV in the 5th photo down), the one with the yellow handle, green hand guard, and gray "blade"...

Mattias Cedervall - Nov 24, 2015 at 14:48
Talk to Ms. Cole? I guess she has a name tag (the little thing I see?) or the agent have talked to her before because otherwise it should say "Talk to bank teller" or something like that.

Herman Toothrot - Nov 24, 2015 at 14:59
Too bad I don't live in the U.S. Those screenshots do bring back memories...

gopher - Nov 24, 2015 at 15:03
What's up with the icons? Why are they so good looking?

Juan Daniel Reich - Nov 24, 2015 at 15:10
Man!... I'm a 42 year old father of 3 now and backer through Kickstarter and.... well, Reading all this and seeing the pictures.... brings back a lot of memories, nostalgia and fun references of myself at 13 years old playing Manic Mansion on my Commodore 128...

Keep up the great work!

Henk - Nov 24, 2015 at 15:28
128! I totally forgot that existed! I went from the 64 to the Amiga 500.

Seeing these screenshots are really great, I'm going to say it again; we need to get our hands on the rights to Monkey Island and then lock Ron and the rest up.. Only to be released when they made 15 or so new MI games...

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Nov 24, 2015 at 16:16
You are not alone... I am 42 too, I was 13 when played Maniac Mansion and 14/15 when played Zak McKracken.
I have to say that those two games taught me a lot of English words... stale, couch, hamster, slimy, wax... none of those words you can learn in (italian) schools!

Leandro De Brasi - Nov 24, 2015 at 15:11
Nice update! Count on me! Can you make a playtest in Argentina? LOL

Thorn - Nov 24, 2015 at 15:16
Great post! I'm really enjoying your devbolog. The insight in to processes is quite interesting. As a content creator there's probably something I can take away from it when soliciting feedback on unfinished projects.

Marco Lizza - Nov 24, 2015 at 15:30
That is a really nice "snail" pause icon, indeed. I remember the first time I saw it in Maniac Mansion and thought "what the hell they were thinking" just to fall immediately in love with it. :)

Nor Treblig - Nov 25, 2015 at 02:05
Indeed, the snail is back! Hurray!

Big Red Button - Nov 24, 2015 at 15:49
1) Does the game count the amount of time you play? It would be a very interesting function for the final version, too, for deliberating one's own performance afterwards!

2) Is there already music in the test version of the game?

3) What does 'backwards puzzle' mean?

Big Red Button - Nov 24, 2015 at 15:52
Ah, I just found the answer to my third question here: http://grumpygamer.com/why_adventure_games_suck

Andreas - Nov 24, 2015 at 15:53
Will there be puzzles in Thimbleweed park, that are solved by waiting? (Like the snake puzzle in Broken Age...)

Ron Gilbert - Nov 24, 2015 at 16:03
No, I don't like puzzles where you have to wait. Puzzle can become unlocked by doing other actions, but time alone shouldn't be the way.

Carlo Valenti - Nov 24, 2015 at 16:01
Do you support playtester with coke'n'chips and warm peluches? If not, please do: after all, that's the way we are playing games.

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Nov 24, 2015 at 16:20
Coke'n'chips, or Nutella'n'breadsticks! :-)

Big Red Button - Nov 24, 2015 at 16:22
... and Bamba!

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Nov 24, 2015 at 16:40
...you are referring to the song by Ritchie Valens... for sure... right? :-O

Big Red Button - Nov 24, 2015 at 17:07
Why not! :-D
However I was refering to *'peanut flips'*. Though their tastes differ depending on where you buy them. So I wasn't sure how to call them. Anyway I mean the salty ones, without cheese or sugar.
I called them 'Bamba', even though it's a private brand which I had never tried out, since there is an article on the English Wikipedia site everyone can look it up with.

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Nov 24, 2015 at 17:32
Ooooh, thank you very much for the explanation!!
But I must warn you... if you ever come to visit Italy, don't say anyone that you eat Bamba... trust me... :-D :-D
(it's a synonym for drugs!)

Big Red Button - Nov 24, 2015 at 17:41
Oh, I didn't know that. Thank you for your warning! I will keep it in mind.

Carlo Valenti - Nov 24, 2015 at 17:04
even better

Trond - Nov 24, 2015 at 16:32
Wow, looks great. Thumbs up! Did the game have audio at this stage?

Zombocast - Nov 24, 2015 at 19:29
I'd totaly take a day off, ride the Bus to Seattle and playtest the game for the day.

Though, I'd rather treat it like a twitch stream, using a front facing camera and post it on youtube as a private video giving you access to it.

Then once the game goes "live" change it to public and get views.

But, that puts alot of faith in your playtesters.

zombocast - Nov 24, 2015 at 19:32
But, you've already stated that thimbleweed playtests are in_person only o_O

Orcan Ogetbil - Nov 25, 2015 at 02:56
While testing, did Sarah try to do something which makes total sense in her interpretation, and would make sense for many people, but the game had no good response to her action? Does the playtesting cover such cases?

Ron Gilbert - Nov 25, 2015 at 09:07
Yes, she did and that is exactly what playtests are for. When you're designing a game, you get your mind on one track and then someone new comes in and tries something you never would have through of.

Simon Simon - Nov 25, 2015 at 03:12
Will Sarah do a playtest again? - or more general: will (sometimes) the same person do multiple playtests of one game? Probably the reaction of an "unspoiled" person is most valuable; however the Pizza orgies do not sound like they were a completely different crowd from one time to the next... and it could also be interesting what Sarah comments on coherency or aspects of the game that you changed since the last playtest?

Ron Gilbert - Nov 25, 2015 at 09:10
She will. She only played up to a minor plot point in the game, and when we're done with our next sprint, she will come back and continue where she left off. Well, hopefully she will come back. :-) Adventure games are huge and no one will be able to complete it in one sitting, so we hope to bring back the same people to continue. What she and the others can't really do is replay the same section again.

Simon Simon - Nov 25, 2015 at 11:20
Thank you for answering, Ron! That makes sense.

Ashley B - Nov 26, 2015 at 21:32
*Challenge accepted*:  Will be trying to win Thimbleweed Park in a single sitting now ;)

KJL3000 - Nov 25, 2015 at 03:20
Hey Ron, didn't see the blog in a long time, I'm glad my money seems to be well spent :) Here are some annoying questions: What about more Ambient sounds, like the typewriter at the local press? What about music in general? Do you still need a title theme? What about a title music contest?

Back on topic: I won't be in the US anytime soon, so I can't come over, but sign me up as a beta tester, will you? :)

Best regards,

Biggus Dickus - Nov 25, 2015 at 04:54
The snail! Best-Game-Ever!
I hope that I will finally be able to open the medical cabinet in the "skeleton room". Or was there a way back in Maniac Mansion?

Biggus Dickus - Nov 25, 2015 at 04:56
Oh, and pretty please do also name a street "E Street". And there is  a sax solo every time you enter it.

Daryl - Nov 25, 2015 at 07:24
That glorious Monkey Island print you have in the corner of the room needs to be proudly displayed on your wall :-)

Ron Gilbert - Nov 25, 2015 at 09:13
It's an original poster from 1991. It usually hangs, but it was taken down because something is going to go in it's place.

Daryl - Nov 25, 2015 at 09:37
Ahhh ok, TP 2016 poster i'll presume, awesome! I'd swap you a rubber chicken (with pulley) for that MI poster any day of the week. So THE Ron Gilbert just replied to a message I sent. My 2015 is complete.

Jura Snodtball - Nov 25, 2015 at 08:05
Sooooo nice to see all the MM references in the game! I always found the characters from MM the most interesting out of all the games Lucasfilm/LucasArts released. Even though they've got almost no backstory and are only in one game. Well except Bernard. They were just a really fascinating bunch. They remind me of the different types of people from my old school. Who would have thought that the most ordinary characters turns out to be the most interesting? I know I wrote this before but it would be really interesting if Ron and Gary made a sort of "Where are they now?" on those characters. Anyway i'm really getting super psyched about the game! And i freaking can't wait for it to get finished.

Natalija - Nov 25, 2015 at 08:23
Those icons look really nice. Are they finished?

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Nov 25, 2015 at 08:27
I noticed that the color of the verbs and inventory lines changes when the game is paused.
Or maybe it changes depending on the main color of the character clothes (e.g. blue, since the active player wears blue jacket and pants) ?

Ron Gilbert - Nov 25, 2015 at 09:14
The interface colors change based on who is selected.

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Nov 25, 2015 at 10:36
Nice touch!

Geoffrey Paulsen - Nov 25, 2015 at 11:38
Great write-up!  Could be extended to many different types of "playtesting", including writing novels, creating board games, etc.

Do you have an automated way to capture all of the tester's verb + object combos?  If so do you later go and look at meta data that shows you where to perhaps spend some time creating additional jokes?  (i.e. if many testers want to put the hamster in the microwave, do you capture that and go back later and create more dialog, and perhaps a new puzzle?)

Bogdan Barbu - Nov 25, 2015 at 13:30
Please stop posting new rooms. We already know where to find all the god damn vacuum tubes (presumably used for the radio station). :P

Mattias Cedervall - Nov 25, 2015 at 18:06
Will playtesters like Sarah™ be in the game's credits?

Sushi - Nov 26, 2015 at 17:39
A bit off-topic, but there is 75% off on Steam until Sunday for Indy 3, and other lucasarts adventures (also on a package including both Indy games, Loom and the Dig for just around 2.5 € or $). Check it out if you don't already own  some/all of them!! Especially Indy 3, being the last Winnick/Gilbert/Fox game to date, obviously. But the others are pretty good too (and include artwork by Gary). Pretty good is an understatement.  Probably preaching to the choir here, but just in case...

Carlo Valenti - Nov 26, 2015 at 17:51
May I do a new blog post? I feel empty with you guys posting only every 3/4 days.

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Nov 27, 2015 at 09:06
...but today is Friday! Soon there will be a new podcast, so you can write on a new post!

Carlo Valenti - Nov 27, 2015 at 17:20
Yeah, right!!

nom - Nov 28, 2015 at 13:32
You mean "Podcast #nan"? :(

Martin Wendt - Nov 26, 2015 at 18:32
The snail is back! :-) I know at least one guy who will love that at least as much as I do =)

Big Red Button - Nov 27, 2015 at 05:40
It's a dilemma that computer mice need a rigid underground, whereas everyone would like to lean back on a sofa. That's why mice will never be popular for video game consoles, even though they are predestined for point & click games.

Martin Wendt - Nov 27, 2015 at 08:17
Have you every considered a track ball? They work rather well in that area.

Big Red Button - Nov 27, 2015 at 09:41
In my opinion track balls are not fully on a par with mice. Nevertheless it's a good idea! I should think about it. Thank you!

Priyansh vyas - Nov 27, 2015 at 13:17
Loved the post! Very detailed.

Ah, how I wish I lived in the States - I'm such a fan of your work Ron and I would have loved to help out :D

mr. T - Nov 27, 2015 at 13:52
Very informative! I feel like I could conduct a half-decent playtest session now. I've done a small one before with a software concept but after reading the post I found I could refine some aspects in the future :)

Tyler - Nov 28, 2015 at 00:00
One of the few kickstarters to actually deliver what they advertised, and more. Under promise over deliver is the key to success. Bravo. I look forward to these updates every week.

Michael - Nov 28, 2015 at 12:57
I hope she had fun while playtesting at least.

Andrew - Dec 01, 2015 at 20:54
So... this is basically a tutorial for newb Adventure Game creators to learn every single detail that goes into the broad scene of development. In other words, this is extremely helpful as I am attempting to break into the romanticized world of game dev that is known as point & clickin'. Love the old games. Can't wait for something fresh, new and original. Been waiting for something that is just point & click and doesn't try to be anything more. So stoked for this!

Lukas - Dec 06, 2015 at 11:49
Out of curiosity: In every HCI and UX courses in university I was taught that you should never ever, under any circumstances, choose friends and family as part of your usability test group, do you think that this kind of testing could or does falsify your findings?

Ron Gilbert - Dec 06, 2015 at 12:01
Yes, that is very true, although I often start with friends (never ever family) more as a playtest of the playtest, then quickly move on to strangers.

Tom Brinton - Jan 13, 2016 at 18:40
Great post Ron! I'm using this to develop a user test for a file manager app i'm working on. And when I say "using" I really mean wresting, twisting, altering, (and probably ruining) it to fit my own nefarious purposes.